Grace Mugabe's lawsuit plot to blackmail Trevor Ncube – Sources

HARARE – President Mugabe is using his wife to launched a defamation lawsuit against a private Sunday newspaper as plot to blackmail South African based Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube whose South African newspaper won the right to publish highly incriminating 2002 election report marred by violence and widespread vote rigging, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.

Robert Mugabe’s wife is suing a newspaper for $15 million for publishing a Wikileaks cable saying she benefited from illicit diamond trade.

Last week, The Standard newspaper quoting a cable sent by US ambassador James McGee to Washington in 2008, reported that Grace Mugabe gained millions of dollars from illegal diamonds mining, in the Marange district of eastern Zimbabwe.

The standard is owned by Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean publisher based in South Africa, who also owns South African newspaper The Mail & Guardian.

On Tuesday Ncube’s publication The Mail & Guardian won its bid to obtain a confidential report on the 2002 Zimbabwe presidential election at the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.

President Jacob Zuma’s office had appealed against the June 2010 judgement in the North Gauteng High Court which ordered the government to release the report to the M&G.

Last night, a high ranking source in the Zimbabwe government Intelligence services revealed to our reporter in Harare that there is growing fear in Zanu PF ranks and Security agencies that the incriminating report could be laid in the public and it could be used by the International Criminal Court of justice to prosecute Zanu PF leaders, particularly those involved in the farm invasions.

Apart from violence and vote-rigging, the report could also re-ignite legitmacy issues on Robert Mugabe ahead of 2011 elections.

Meanwhile, our source said, on Monday there were a flurry of meetings and briefings by high ranking Zanu PF officials led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of Tuesday’s ruling by the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, and a number of options were discussed, and an agreed position was to launch a direct counter-challenge on Trevor Ncube’s business interests in Zimbabwe.

The attorney general Johannes Tomana, and the Chief Prosecutor Chris Mutangadura, Grace Mugabe’s uncle Maxwell Ranga who is masquerading acting permanent secretary in the Justice Ministry and doubling up as President Mugabe’s lawyer, even though it is well known that he has never been to a law school, and together with a number of top Zanu PF linked High Court Judges, met on Tuesday to draft a $15 million defamation case against The Standard on behalf of the First Lady.

Lawyers for Zimbabwe’s First Family, the Mugabes, have, in recent weeks, been busy repairing the damaged image of their clients shortly after revelations from WikiLeaks, the controversial whistle-blower website, was published by a local newspaper.

The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal that Grace Mugabe has stuffed her relatives in key positions of every Ministry.

Meanwhile, our source also revealed to our reporter that President Mugabe personally prepared his defence against Tsvangirai’s High Court challenge and asked Grace’s uncle Mawxell Ranga to represent him amid reports that he no longer trusts his Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

President Mugabe who is an accomplished constitutional lawyer himself stated in the filed affidavit that in terms of Rule 18 of the High Court Rules, RGN1047/1971, it was not possible to sue a sitting President.

The rule reads: “No summons or other civil process of the court may be sued out against the President or against any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of the court granted on court application being made for that purpose.”

Mugabe said it was clear from the said Rule that leave to institute proceedings against the President was required before an application could be instituted against him.

But Tsvangirai maintains that as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe as defined in the Global Political Agreement signed by the three principals, Mugabe should have consulted him before re-appointing the governors.